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Thread: Las Vegas to Bloomsburg and back July 2011

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    Las Vegas to Bloomsburg and back July 2011

    Here is my trip report on our trip to Bloomsburg, PA. to attend the BMWMOA rally. This would be our longest trip ever on my 1991 K100RS.
    My wife Donna took all the pictures while riding, using her Nikon Cool Pix, I took the rest of them using my Nikon D5000.

    July 12 - I got off work early around 2PM., so we were able to get all the way to Richfield, Ut., 290 miles.

    Ok, it's off we go - beginning mileage 114011





    Into Arizona...

    Our first stop was at the Castle Valley view area...beautiful view





    Taking some pics.



    We stopped at Spotted Wolf Canyon overlook...







    I -70 through the canyon...






    Through the Virgin River Canyon.



    Into Utah...perfect late afternoon in Utah for riding.





    Nearing Richfield, UT.



    At the motel there were 4 other bikes, 3 BMW's - they were also headed to the rally - coming from CA.

    July 13 - perfect morning, nice and cool, made it to Frisco, Co. 397 miles.



    Our first stop was at the Castle Valley view area...beautiful view





    Taking some pics.


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    Las Vegas to Bloomsburg and back July 2011 Part 2

    We stopped at Spotted Wolf Canyon overlook...







    I -70 through the canyon...



    Into Colorado...has to be one of our favorite states to ride.





    Riding along the Colorado river, on I -70 just east of Glenwood Springs.



    Finally out of the desert and into the mountains...



    One more break before stopping in Frisco for the night...at the Vail Summit rest area.



    July 14 - We had an appointment in Greeley, so it was short day riding. 155 miles



    We did get off I-70, decided to go over Loveland pass. Starting the day at 12,000 feet, cool, clean, crisp mountain air - plus I don't enjoy riding through the Eisenhower tunnel.





    Looking down at I-70 and the tunnel. Highlighted in yellow.



    Riding north on HWY 119, I want to go there...



    Through a small tunnel on HWY 119



    We stopped at Nederland, Co. for a late breakfast, and nope I didn't need any bail money!



    My wife Donna, always service with a smile!


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    Las Vegas to Bloomsburg and back July 2011 Part 3

    Heading up into the high country before taking I-25 to Greeley.



    Onto I-25 north bound to Greeley.



    We made it to Greeley in plenty of time for our appointment, then had dinner with Donna's daughter, Melina, her caregiver and one of my old Trooper friends from my days on the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Scott Mahaffey & his wife Mary.




    July 15 - A quick stop in Cheyenne, WY. to have breakfast with some more WHP friends - then made it to Grand Island, NE. for the night. 420 miles



    Into Wyoming



    Into Nebraska



    The view in Nebraska...



    Then we stopped somewhere in "Nowhere" NE.



    July 16 We made it to Ames, IA. 350 miles





    I-80 in Iowa was in terrible condition (more on that at the end) so we decided to try the "Western Skies Scenic Byway" on Hwy 44. It was also in terrible condition, so we took Hwy 71 south and got back on I-80.

    The view in Iowa...



    We stayed in Ames with my aunt Carol & her husband Dick. It had been about 20 years since I saw them last, so a visit was long overdue.



    July 17 We drove to Elkhart, IN. with a stop in Anamosa, IA to visit the National Motorcycle museum. 480 miles






    We enjoyed the museum, a famous bike from the past. Don't think I'd want to tour on that model!



    Into Illinois



    Crossing the Mississippi - I had always boasted that there was no reason for me ever to go east of the Mississippi...oh well another boast down the drain!



    Illinois corn looked suspiciously like Iowa & Nebraska corn ??



    We hit a terrible construction zone in Joliet, IL. I-80 was down to a single lane and it took us about 45 minutes to go about 3 miles through it. Nothing like moving 5 to 10 feet and stopping.

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    Novice Adventurer Newstar's Avatar
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    Wow! Great pictures! The colors are beautiful and it looks like a painted backdrop.

    Well done!

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    Las Vegas to Bloomsburg and back July 2011 Part 4

    Into Indiana



    We stayed with my aunt Sandy for 2 days. We had a big family dinner with more of my relatives we hadn't seen for many years.



    Sandy also made us a fresh blueberry pie, my favorite - oh man was it good!



    Wild turkeys having breakfast in Sandy's yard. Certainly wasn't expecting to see them in Elkhart!



    I did do a little riding on our extra day, Sandy wanted a ride, so I rode her around her neighborhood and then to the clinic very near her home.







    July 20 From Elkhart to Clearfield, PA. 425 miles



    Into Ohio..



    I-80 in Ohio




    We had lunch in Toledo, OH. with another old friend - Rick Fernandez - who drove down from Detroit to meet us. Rick & I have known each other since I was on the Baton Rouge Police Dept. back in the mid 70's.



    Into Pennsylvania



    July 21 From Clearfield to Bloomsburg 120 miles



    Stopped and had breakfast at a Crackerbarrel. We had never stopped at one of these (not any in the Vegas area) and really enjoyed it. We stopped almost every morning at one of these for the rest of our trip, I loved having my coffee outside in a rocker!



    Almost to the rally !



    We made it 2400 miles !!




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    Las Vegas to Bloomsburg and back July 2011 Part 5

    This was my third rally (Durango, CO. in 1995, Gillette, WY. 2008) and Donna's first. She now has a rally patch on her BMW jacket.



    BMW's everywhere...





    We walked around and enjoyed looking at all the vendors, had a hot dog for lunch and many cold drinks, not sure if any of you heard - but it was a little warm at the rally!





    We stayed in Mifflinville at a motel Thursday night. I came out and found this black beauty parked next to mine. Met the owner, Pat Moore, turns out he is also a K1100 OG member, and we mutually admired each others RS's.



    We had to be on our way Friday, and found out when we got back that this picture of our 100,000 mile award was used at the "K" bike presentation on Friday(read about on this blog). I wish we could have stayed and seen this, but I wasn't aware that it would be used, and we had to be in Ashburn, VA. Friday afternoon. I guess for the next rally I should read all the days itinerary and make plans to stay longer.




    July 22 Bloomsburg, PA. to Ashburn, VA. 190 miles




    On the way to Gettysburg...



    We stopped at Gettysburg and wanted to tour the battlefields, but it was just unbearably hot. Temp. was about 105 to 110, with 90% humidity, so we stayed at the visitor center for awhile, then headed out towards VA.





    Donna with Union soldiers



    Into Maryland



    Into Virginia



    We arrived at my sister Susan's house in Ashburn at 4 pm. We stayed 2 nights.

    Having our morning coffee out on the front porch swing...



    Dan grills up some prime cuts of steak! It is great to stay with family as a guest - they do all the hard work!



    The "men" enjoy a break, and for one of us a cold frosty "adult" beverage.


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    Las Vegas to Bloomsburg and back July 2011 Part 6

    The required "family" picture. Me, brother in law Dan, sister Susan, Donna, Kim, and Scott - my nephew, front row Nick, Gabriel, and Alex



    July 24 Ashburn, VA. to Sweetwater, TN 525 miles



    Off we go..



    Traveling down I-81



    Into Tennessee



    July 25 Sweetwater, TN. to Birmingham, AL. 220 miles



    Into Georgia



    Into Alabama



    Driving through Birmingham



    Drove on I-59 through Birmingham, big mistake! They were doing construction, all the overpasses and bridge decks were at least 1 to 2 inches higher than the blacktop on both ends, a bone jarring ride, could not really slow down because of all the heavy traffic - didn't want to be rear ended by faster cars. I should have taken the I 459 bypass around Birmingham.

    Had breakfast at another Crackerbarrel in Bessemer, AL. Enjoyed the rocking chair again.



    After leaving breakfast, made it about 10 miles when Donna gave me the emergency stop signal. After getting stopped off the interstate, we found that our oil level window was no longer on the engine, and that most of the engine motor oil was on the bike and dripping onto the roadway. Donna had noticed her foot slipping off the right side foot peg and saw the oil all over her foot, I never would have noticed until the oil light would have come on. I think the seal around the window, in addition to being 20 years old, just worked itself loose after the bone jarring ride through Birmingham.



    Note: I had cleaned off all the leaking & blowing oil off the bike before I took these pictures.

    It took about an hour & a half to get a wrecker out. I was able to contact a fellow BMWMOA member through the anonymous book, Jamie Jackson. He was able to get me the phone number of the parts manager for the BMW shop in Birmingham. The shop was moving to a new location and happened to have people there on a Monday, when they normally would have been closed.



    We were able to get the bike to their new shop and get it off the wrecker.



    The owner of the shop, Jim Lewis, arranged for us to be picked up and taken to the Redmont hotel in downtown Birmingham. The service manager Andy Carroll (in the above photo) helped us get the bike off the wrecker and into their shop. We now had an extra day to wait for the parts to come in. Andy recommended we go out to the Barber Motorsports museum.

    The next day we took a cab out to the museum - WOW - what a collection of motorcycles and older race cars. If we had to be stuck for a day, this was as good a place as any.





    Donna was ready to keep touring on this BMW, a 1957 R/50.





    This was the most fascinating exhibit to us - the couple below took these 2 BMW's around the world, they were exactly in the same condition as when the ride ended...




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    Las Vegas to Bloomsburg and back July 2011 Part 7

    The Redmont in Birmingham



    Keeping everyone informed & up to date on Facebook, plus having my coffee outside on the veranda was nice.



    Andy called me Tuesday afternoon and informed me that the oil level window was no where to be found in the U.S. He did say he could put a temporary fix on the bike that should get us home. He found the part at a Home Depot - a pressure plug that had a rubber gasket that could be tightened enough to stay on & hold the oil under pressure.



    I can't say enough how well the Birmingham BMW dealership took care of us. A big "thank you" to Jim Lewis and Andy Carroll for all that you guys did, along with everyone else at the shop, to make us feel welcome and for getting us back on the road so that we could complete our trip.



    July 27 Birmingham, AL. to Baton Rouge, LA. 400 miles




    Into Mississippi



    Another Crackerbarrel for breakfast...



    We finally had to drive through some rain in Mississippi. Rained on us for about 100 miles, but quit raining just before dark, so we continued to Baton Rouge.

    Into Louisiana



    We pulled into my parents house in Baton Rouge at 11pm.

    The next morning I met another old friend from my BRPD days, David Worley met me at the Harley shop for coffee - His choice, yep he rides a Harley. David & I started on the PD about the same time in 1975.



    We celebrated Donna's birthday one day early at my folks, cooked out on the grill, my sister Eileen made another excellent birthday cake.





    The "family" photo - Dad, Mom, Sister Eileen, Donna, niece Taylor, sister Debbie, her husband David, nephew Logan, and me.



    We could only spend one day in Baton Rouge, due to our oil problem, the next day it was off to Texas.

    July 29 Baton Rouge, LA. to Baytown, TX. 250 miles



    Over the bridge, back on the west side of the Mississippi




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    Las Vegas to Bloomsburg and back July 2011 Part 8

    Riding across the Atchafalaya swamp, 18 miles of bridge





    Into Texas



    We met with another old friend of mine, Connie (Edmundson) Jennings & I attended Baytown junior high together back in the late 60's. We hadn't seen one another in about 37 years, she married Glen Jennings, he & I played on the Ross Sterling high freshmen football team together. We had fun catching up with them and had a great dinner at a Mexican restaurant.



    July 30 Baytown, TX. to Van, TX. 260 miles



    Riding over the Fred Hartman bridge towards Pasadena.




    A very large statue of Sam Houston we passed heading north on I-45. Note the person at the bottom right of the statute.



    Riding in east Texas hill country



    At Love's Lookout, east Texas.






    We stopped in Van, TX. and had a nice, but quick visit and dinner with Donna's sister - Jeanette & her family. We had planned on staying one night with them, but had to get back on the road following dinner.




    July 31 Canton, TX. to Childress, TX. 305 miles



    Trying not to get on the wrong freeway in Dallas...



    Riding across west Texas..



    We had planned on going a little further, but by 3pm, it was about 108 degrees, so we stopped in Childress, caught up on our laundry and drank several frosty adult beverages.

    Aug 1 Childress, TX. to Santa Rosa, NM 285 miles


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    Las Vegas to Bloomsburg and back July 2011 Part 9

    We started out early, around 6:30am, hoping to get some miles under us before it got real hot. About 10 miles out of Childress, I heard a popping noise, looked down to my right foot and saw oil hitting my boot. The plug had popped off. It had cooled down overnight and the rubber casket had shrunk just enough to come loose. I put the plug back on and tightened it down, added a quart of oil and we drove slowly back to Childress. Once we got back, we washed all the oil of the bike, changed the oil at an oil change place, then hit the road again.

    More of beautiful west Texas..



    No, we aren't lost Dear...



    Riding north on HWY 70, to get to west on I-40



    Onto I-40 west, riding past a large Cross in Groom, TX. I could see this Cross from about 12 miles away.



    We stopped at a rest area, Donna didn't want to stay long..



    There was a very strong headwind that we fought across west Texas through Amarillo.



    We passed a large wind farm west of Amarillo, with the winds we were fighting, this farm should be able to power the world!



    Thank goodness, we were out of Texas! No offense to any Texans, but I hope never to drive across HWY 287 again.

    Into New Mexico



    The wind died down very quickly after entering NM, nice road, clear skies. It also seemed cooler.



    We stopped for the night in Santa Rosa, and ate some good Mexican food, then crashed, it had been a long day!

    Aug 2 Santa Rosa, NM. to Williams, AZ. 475 miles



    Into Arizona



    Another fun lunch on the road...pizza at a truck stop.



    A big thunderstorm to the north of us along I-40



    Nice riding again through Arizona, although it started to get hot again.



    We spend the night in Williams, AZ. It is one of our favorite places to stay, an old RT. 66 town, with very quaint motels and a small town atmosphere.

    We always eat at Rod's Steakhouse, great steaks and the best onion rings anywhere.



    Stayed at the Grand Motel, small and quiet.

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    Las Vegas to Bloomsburg and back July 2011 Part 10

    Stayed at the Grand Motel, small and quiet.





    We were out walking the town after dinner, 2 older ladies saw our BMW shirts and asked for directions to the BMW dealer in Las Vegas - said they were leaving shortly and wanted to go by the shop in Las Vegas.
    We went into another small shop looking for a refrigerator magnet, the woman working there was a GS rider, we talked to her for several minutes about our trip. You never know when & where you'll find them, but BMW people are everywhere.

    Aug 3 Williams, AZ. to Las Vegas, NV. 220 miles



    We decided to wait awhile before leaving Williams - it was very cool in the morning and we didn't want to have another oil plug problem.

    Coffee first..



    Then a good breakfast at the Pine Country restaurant



    We thought we had seen enough corn, every state was growing corn, but we found some more corn being grown in Williams. Had to post one more corn "porn" pic...



    We finally hit the road, another nice day for riding.



    Almost home, back into Nevada.



    Riding into Las Vegas on US 93



    Home at last, pulled into our parking spot at 4:15pm, temp. was 105. Total miles - 6074



    The first item at the end of every trip - a cold one, I don't think I ever had one taste that good as this one.



    Some rambling thoughts & observations about our trip.

    Worst Interstate highway - Iowa I-80 was awful, bumpy all the way across the state. When we tried to take a different route, that road was worse, so it was back to the interstate.

    Best Interstate highway - Virgina I-81 was a great road, smooth not many bumps at all. Made traveling there a pleasure.

    Construction areas for the most part weren't too bad - exceptions - Joliet, IL. and Birmingham, AL.

    Performance of my RS - wonderful, rode smooth and never overheated. Losing the oil level window was a real fluke, losing a couple of days was inconvenient, but after 6074 miles, it brought us home. A big "thank you" to Casey & the people at the BMW of Las Vegas dealership for getting my BMW ready.

    Adding the Beadriders seat covers made a HUGH difference. Donna & I never had to stop, only when we needed a drink or gas. We did take more "butt breaks" than normal due to the heat.

    The Rally - we had a great time watching all the BMW's ride by while we were walking the grounds, enjoyed looking at all the "stuff". I know many people have complained about the heat and timing of the rally - not me!
    I have to put in for my vacations almost a year in advance, so knowing when & where is vital for us to try and attend. All the volunteers & vendors were out in that heat for the entire weekend and did a great job. The rally this year gave us the chance to visit many relatives & friends that we haven't seen in years. I don't know of anyone who can predict what the weather will be like in 2012 for the rally in MO.

    It was fun to watch people's faces when we told them we were from Las Vegas as we traveled across the country, even some stares from our fellow BMW riders at the rally.

    It was hot for almost the entire trip, but Donna & I had a great time!

    I do wish that "us" K riders could have got together like the group that took the R-RS pic, I did see a lot of K's there.

    One last thing - I really wish BMW would do a better job of having parts available for older BMW's no matter what the model. We waited one full day only to find out that there were no oil level windows in the entire country. Many models use this window, so I was very surprised that none were available. Hopefully I can have this part before the BMWMOA getaway in Cedar City, as we have already signed up & have booked our room at the Crystal Inn.

    Hope to see some K's in Cedar City.

  12. #12
    Registered User DPeakMD's Avatar
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    Love all the pics. You guys look so good together in your outfits on that sweet bike.
    Dallas
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  13. #13
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    Bob,

    Thanks for the report. I enjoyed reading it, and seeing the pics, and meeting your family.
    David Brick
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    2007 R1200R

  14. #14
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    Great ride, thanks for taking us along.

    Ian
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  15. #15
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Nice pics and nice ride report. Thanks for allowing us to ride along. There are a lot of us chained to our desks, and these reports provide inspiration for better days to come.

    I build roads and bridges, and get precious little time off in good weather.

    My retirement count-down clock is ticking off the days until I can get out of here and do some road trips.

    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

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